John Wengraf

John Wengraf (23 April 1897 – 4 May 1974) was an Austrian actor.[1]

Early years

Wengraf was born in Vienna, Austria-Hungary.


Wengraf became a matinee idol in the 1930s, and was director of the Vienna State Theatre.[2] He emigrated to Britain in 1939 as the Nazis began their rise to power in Austria.[3] While in London, he was involved with more than 100 plays as either director or actor.[2]

Wengraf appeared unbilled in a couple of films, as well as in some of the first BBC live-television shows ever presented. In 1941 he appeared on Broadway with Helen Hayes in Candle in the Wind and decided to stay in the US.[4] His other Broadway credits included The Traitor (1949) and The French Touch (1945).[5] The following year he settled in the Los Angeles area.

He found himself invariably playing the very characters he detested.[3] Some of his more nefarious nasties surfaced in such films as the Humphrey Bogart classic Sahara (1943), as well as The Boy from Stalingrad (1943), U-Boat Prisoner (1944) and Till We Meet Again (1944).[6]

In post-war years, he portrayed ethnic professionals (scientists, doctors, professors, foreign royalty). His films included Tomorrow Is Forever (1946); he portrayed Count Von Papen in 5 Fingers (1952); and Ronchin in the Ethel Merman musical Call Me Madam (1953).[7] In the 1950s and 1960s he transferred his talents to TV, appearing on a number of dramatic showcases and on such popular programs as The Untouchables (1959), Hawaiian Eye (1959), The Man from U.N.C.L.E. (1964) and The Time Tunnel (1966). His last few films included minor roles in the war-themed Judgment at Nuremberg (1961), Hitler (1962) and Ship of Fools (1965) as well as The Prize (1963).[8]


Wengraf retired in 1966, and died in Santa Barbara, California, at the age of 77 on 4 May 1974.[3]

Selected filmography


  1. League, The Broadway. "John Wengraf – Broadway Cast & Staff - IBDB".
  2. "John E. Wengraf, 77, Actor and Director". The New York Times. May 10, 1974. Archived from the original on 6 June 2018. Retrieved 6 June 2018.
  3. "John Wengraf - Biography, Movie Highlights and Photos - AllMovie". AllMovie.
  4. League, The Broadway. "Candle in the Wind – Broadway Play – Original - IBDB".
  5. "John Wengraf". Internet Broadway Database. The Broadway League. Archived from the original on 6 June 2018. Retrieved 6 June 2018.
  6. "John Wengraf".
  7. "John Wengraf".
  8. "John Wengraf - Movies and Filmography - AllMovie". AllMovie.
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